Is Fettuccine Alfredo an Authentic Italian Dish?
The fettuccini alfredo available at our restaurant in Allen, that we as Americans consider an eminently Italian dish has an interesting story behind it from which the “Alfredo” derives. Italians actually have no idea who Alfredo is for the most part and are unaware of Alfredo Di Lelio, or the inventor’s legacy. Therefore his heirs will tell the story as it was told to them.
Fettuccine Alfredo’s Story
Alfredo’s mother, Angelina, ran a family restaurant in 1908 Rome. His wife, fatigued from home childbirth, was lacking strength and in need of a restorative meal. In view of this, Alfredo took on the task and put together a meal to bolster her energy and help her recover from her ordeal.
Combining fresh egg noodle fettuccine in a creamy sauce and comprised of liberal amounts of butter and parmesan cheese, his wife so enjoyed the meal she encouraged him to have it added to the family restaurant menu! Then Angelina took the recommendation and found the item quickly gaining popularity.
In 1910, new zoning took the family restaurant out of business, no longer able to operate in the square where it was located. However, Alfredo simply opened his own restaurant, in an approved district, where he offered his pasta dish. The eatery, Alfredo alla Scrofa, operated in that location from 1914 to 1940.
Claim to Fame
In the 20’s, two mega movie stars of the time, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, had dinner there and were very taken with his delicious recipe. Then upon returning to Hollywood, they told the story of their discovery and raved about how much they enjoyed the pasta dish, even sending a gift to Alfredo in 1927 of a gold fork and spoon bearing an engraved dedication declaring Alfredo the King of Noodles.
Eventually, other celebrities would visit Alfredo’s place and would become loyal patrons, cementing the success of the pasta dish.
A Change in Direction
When World War II came along, Alfredo experienced some financial difficulty and decided to sell his restaurant to his waiters, leaving the business for a time.
In 1950, Alfredo decided it was time to give the restaurant business another go and opened another place, not too far from his original location, featuring his signature pasta dish. However this caused some unforeseen debate and competition with the original location’s fare over who was serving “the real fettuccine Alfredo.” The “War of the Alfredos” continues to this day.
Both restaurants enjoy celebrity patrons and continue to offer the pasta dish with a slightly different view on historical ownership. Alfredo, for his part, didn’t concern himself with the competition, confident he invented the dish and continuing to see his favorite patrons, he didn’t care what history reflected.
The Current View
Today, his heirs endeavor to keep the truth in focus, preserving Alfredo’s legacy through the generations. Both camps agree on the reason Italians don’t know the story though.
Because the dish became so popular in the U.S., they considered it a tourist peculiarity, virtually eliminating it from Italian menus over time.
Another point both agree on is the version cooked up in the U.S., made with cream, shrimp, and chicken, are disgraceful examples of their original recipe and shouldn’t even use the moniker “Fettuccine Alfredo.” Their original recipe, admittedly containing egg noodle fettuccine in a butter/parmesan sauce, is a closely guarded secret. We only guess at the proportions in our modern-day versions and can only hope to replicate Alfredo’s perfect blend. So, yes, it’s definitely Italian, just don’t ask an Italian to confirm!
You’ll find our fettuccine is delicious and a perfect blend, creating an outstanding fettuccine dish.
ABOUT ITALIAN VILLA RESTAURANT:
We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in
Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine. Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189